Return to Fender

One of the biggest problems we’ve had so far is that of keeping us and the boats around us apart. The stresses on the mooring lines are such that they tend to stretch, fray and unwind. Meanwhile the movement of Silo next to us is just exactly right, under certain circumstances, to tear the ropes holding on our fenders – no matter how thick the gauge of rope we use.

For weeks we’ve been saying we’d chain up the aft port fender instead of using a rope, partly because it’s the one under the most ferocious assault from Silo but also because it’s right by our feet now we’re back in the Captain’s Cabin and when it’s missing we feel it the same way a crash test dummy feels the wall.

Oddly enough what finally got the ball rolling was a blown fuse – one of the huge ceramic jobbies that the inverter uses in its distribution box. I know of an electrical store that can order them, and while I was in there sorting it out, a couple of delicious-looking plastic-sheathed chains caught my eye. The choice of a few quid on a chain now against more mudlarking to replace dropped fenders in the future? I snapped them up, along with the single padlock the shop still had in stock, to join the ends.

The shiny (and secure) new chain on the aft fender

But it didn’t stop there. Evan’s cycles was on the way back to the office and of course I can’t resist drooling over the latest carbon fibre impotence causers. But of course they also have security chains for your bike. Lovely thick steel cables swaddled in no-clang rubbber coatings, designed to be left out in the elements… I’m not exaggerating when I tell you choirs of angels sang from the firmament as the realisation hit me. Well I am, but not by a lot.

So a I picked up a couple of small combination locks for the less-critical fenders along the sides, and for the trickier ones, only Kryptonite will do. The latter, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to come into service because I used it briefly while I was locking my bike up and there was no way I was going to go without one again. I went back after a few more days and ended up buying three more for the boat.

Oddly though, no-one seemed able to provide padlocks, but Melissa came up with the answer. Arthur Beale, the oddly-placed chandlery in Covent Garden, had the small steel D-shackles she suggested, and far cheaper than padlocks too. £2.67 for 8mm examples and no need to worry about finding the key when they need moving. Bargain.

One of the less-critical fenders with a cheap bike cable holding it on

On Thursday night we put our new full deployment into place, dropping five new fenders off the starboard side to protect us from the drydock. Meanwhile on the port side the test fender on the original big chain is going strong. The plastic sheath lasted about twenty minutes but the chain is showing no signs of wear. Now, I wonder if Kryptonite can be persuaded to make cables a bit thicker, of exactly the right length to moor a luxemoteur…

- posted by James O'Brien on 13 October 2007, 20:05 in